How Not To Dye Your Hair

I’ve made some big mistakes. I’ve done horrible, irreversible things that you can’t come back from for months “ even years. I’m not proud, and I have to live with what I’ve done for as long as my memory serves me. And even when everyone else forgets, I won’t. I’ll be tormented until the day I die.

Which is exactly why I’m qualified to write this how NOT to dye your hair guide. I’ve left bleach on my hair so long it turned blue. I used comb-in pink stuff that left my hair looking physically painted. Once, I tried to give myself highlights and I came away with spots “ like a leopard. I had blonde leopard spots, so to compensate I dyed the whole thing yellow. Chicken fat yellow, which grew out in ten months. So to prevent you from doing any of these things, here: a lesson in how not to dye your hair.

Anne Donahue

1. Don’t ever “ ever “ go blonde at home
So here’s how I look today:

Please note the brown hair, and also my boyfriend (who loves me very much). The problem with having brown hair is that for a while, you might want it to be blonde. And that’s okay! That’s absolutely fine provided you NEVER, EVER DO IT AT HOME. Starting in high school, I did. And that was fine (it wasn’t “ once it turned green), until I stopped enlisting the help of my friends who actually knew how to dye hair. Instead, I enlisted the help of a friend who had never dyed hair in her life, and after applying hair dye to my roots only (because I kept reminding her to get the roots), we removed the tin foil and discovered blonde spots. At my roots. Like a leopard’s, only terrible. So finally, after numerous trips to my hairdresser, I looked like the image above on the left. 

Which was better than the alternative. That being said,

2. Make a drastic colour change with the help of a hairdresser
All of us “ every single one “ have thought, I would LOVE so-and-so’s hair, and I would probably look great with that colour. You might be right! Chances are, you absolutely are. But you know who will help that colour actually work and look good? A hair stylist. Unfortunately for me, I spent many moons believing the opposite, which is exactly why I dyed my hair black for a year and had to wait another ten months for it to grow out. (Only that was when I was 25, and I should have known better.)

3. Do not dye hair with a cap
You know those at-home dye kits? Full disclosure: I still use them. (The semi-permanent kind, and only in colours that are relatively similar to my own. Let me have this.) But remember what I said about blonde? NEVER, EVER DYE YOUR HAIR BLONDE AT HOME. Unfortunately, in high school, we all believed that was simply a myth, and we were even more excited to find a dye cap that allowed us to give all-over highlights to people who trusted us/put their well-being in our hands. I was afraid of these caps since they looked painful, but I witnessed the aftermath of a successful dye job: half an inch of dark roots to bleach blonde colour. You’re better than this. We are ALL better than this.

4. If opting for fun colours, make it permanent
Bright, bold hair colour is awesome. It rules. However, if you’re going to take the vibrant route, again, do it professionally. Comb-in dyes (like I used in grade 10) (and grade 11 and 12) are so non-permanent that they’ll wash out later that night. At-home bleach-and-dye kits will leave your hair brittle and dehydrated, and dying overtop of your natural tone won’t showcase the colour in the way you want. So head to your stylist. Please. For me. And there, they will dye your hair whatever colour you want without the trauma of realizing you have to work tomorrow with yellow hair during the Christmas rush. Because that happened to me, friends. And I doubt anyone who saw it will ever forget.

And for that I am truly sorry.

Tags: growing up, hair dying, hair dying mistakes, how to dye hair, making mistakes, teens

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